Remember how your mother or grandmother used to tell you to make sure you got “lots of bulk”—and that meant eating oatmeal, muffins, and lots of wholegrain bread? Well, they were partly right and they were terribly wrong. Fiber is a vital part of your diet when it comes to promoting health and protecting the body from degeneration. But cereals, whole-wheat and bran muffins are not the way to go.
TRUTH ABOUT FIBER
What is the way to go? The answer may surprise you. The healthiest source of fiber does not come from wholegrains—which disturb blood sugar, create insulin resistance, and cause leptin resistance, making many people fat. (These things, by the way, have become a major driver in most chronic degenerative diseases.) The best fiber comes from fresh fruits and vegetables, which are full of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber: This kind of fiber is found in dark green leafy vegetables, green beans, celery, kale and carrots. It’s the kind of fiber that does not dissolve at all, but adds bulk to your stools. It helps other foods you are eating move rapidly through your digestive tract so that elimination becomes healthier and more regular.
Soluble fiber: This kind of fiber attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. You find soluble fiber in seeds, peas, nuts, blueberries and other berries, fresh beans and psyllium seeds. Soluble fiber helps slow down your digestion. It makes you feel full for longer. This is important for people who have a tendency to gain weight and to suffer from food cravings.
One of the magic things about good quality fiber is that it actually ferments inside. This is wonderful because it releases something called acetate, which travels from your gut to the hypothalamus—the control center in your brain—and there it helps you stop eating more than your body needs.
WHAT IS FIBER?
Dietary fiber is a biological unit, not a chemical entity such as a vitamin or mineral. We get the best fiber from eating plant foods—beans, seeds, some pulses, fresh raw vegetables and fruits. Using simple sugars contained within, these plants produce a number of carbohydrate polymers. Some of these serve as energy stores for the plants, and are almost completely digested and absorbed in the intestine when we eat them. These are the soluble fibers. Others—the fibrous or viscous polysaccharides and lignins—lend the plants their structure and form, but we cannot digest them. Instead, they pass through the colon intact, where they are fermented to some degree before being eliminated from the body as waste. These indigestible polysaccharides, which make up the cell walls of plants, are known collectively as “insoluble dietary fiber”. They have a variety of other names, too.
EACH IS UNIQUE
Each kind of fiber behaves differently and has different benefits for the body: From cellulose, which binds water and increases fecal bulk, to pectin—very rich in apples—which is water soluble; hemicellulose, which shares some of cellulose’s characteristics and helps relieves constipation, aids weight reduction, and clears out carcinogens from the bowel; lignin—the woody fiber that you find in raspberries, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, parsley and tomatoes—which helps eliminate the wrong kind of cholesterol and bile acids from the intestine; and the gums and mucilages, which are sticky fibers that food manufacturers make good use of as thickening agents in convenience foods.
MASSES OF HEALTH BENEFITS
When it comes to enhancing your health, protecting you from degenerative conditions and weight gain, the gifts of fiber are many. First, the right kind of fiber—such as acacia fiber, a soluble fiber—is great for helping people with irritable bowel syndrome. Using an insoluble fiber, such as beans or peas, can reduce the risk of diverticulitis by about 40%. All forms of soluble fiber help slow down the rate at which your body absorbs carbohydrates and sugars, helping to clear sugar cravings and aiding weight loss.
Fiber is also great for your skin, especially psyllium husks and seeds. These help clear any overgrowth of Candida albicans—fungi and yeasts—from your body, helping to eliminate food cravings and protecting your skin from acne and rashes. A high-fiber diet helps lower your risk of hemorrhoids, which are caused by chronic constipation. A high-fiber diet also reduces the risk of kidney and gallstones, probably because it helps to regulate blood sugar.
Research shows that good quality fibers help heart patients live longer. They are also marvelous for curbing the appetite. One of the surprising ways in which they not only do this, but also help protect us from degenerative conditions, is through fermentation. This process in the gut releases acetate, a waste product that has powerful and positive effects on the body. One of the things it does is to transmit information to the hypothalamus in the brain, which regulates your appetite and tells you when you’ve eaten enough. Research indicates that the appetite-suppressing qualities of acetate are excellent.
Some of the best protection from radiation—which we’re experiencing more and more in our increasingly polluted environment—comes from fiber. So make use of it to protect yourself from the kind of radiation poisoning that now contributes to degenerative diseases. Seaweed is also one a great source of radiation protection. Studies have shown that alginate in seaweed and kelp products protect an organism from absorbing radioactive elements such as strontium-90 and cesium, both of which are incredibly dangerous to the body. Amongst other things, strontium-90 tends to replace calcium in the bones, leading to bone disease and cancer. Kelp is helpful in protecting against other kinds of environmental pollutants. The fucoidin it contains helps block the absorption of lead and other heavy metals. There is some evidence that, like pectin—the dietary fiber found in good quantities in apples—it can also help remove much heavy metal poisoning from the body from cadmium, aluminum and lead. Putting seaweeds in soups and vegetable dishes, making laverbread, or even taking kelp tablets can all help prevent the buildup of heavy metals in your body.
Governments recommend that we take in somewhere between 10 and 25 grams of fiber a day. Most people only get half of this, or even less. Because I eat 50% to 70% of my foods raw, I take in at least 40 grams a day. What is interesting is this: Research shows that our Paleolithic ancestors as well as tribal cultures, a few of which still exist on the planet, got somewhere between 35 and 60 grams of fiber a day! Aim for 30 to 40 grams of fiber a day and eat lots of vegetable foods. Your body will thrive on it. You will not find any good quality fiber in manufactured and processed foods. I strongly advise you not to eat such foods.
Here are some of the vegetable foods and seeds that are excellent sources of fiber.
Flax seeds, chia seeds, and psyllium seed husks
Vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale
Macadamia nuts and almonds
Berries of all kinds
Green beans, peas, onions and root vegetables
All the fibers listed above have been shown to help the body protect itself from cancer and other forms of degeneration so common in our world—fibroids, endometriosis, Alzheimer’s disease and heart problems. These fibers can also help tremendously to alter the metabolism of excess estrogen in the bowel—so that more of it is excreted and less of it is reabsorbed. I personally eat lots of green vegetables—most of them raw. My favorite source of seed fibers is twofold: Organic chia seeds and organic whole psyllium husks, which deliver both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. If you have any sort of irritable bowel issues, I recommend acacia fiber. It is a soluble fiber that is very soothing to the gut.
What is so special about organic raw vegetables? Plenty. They have powerful protective qualities, which is why diets high in fresh green vegetables are recommended as an aid for protecting the body from degenerative diseases: Arteriosclerosis, arthritis and cancer. This is especially true of raw vegetables. Even more important, a diet high in raw vegetables not only provides you with the best quality fiber that you’ll find anywhere. It actually increases the microelectric potentials of your body’s tissues, making your cells function better, improving intra- and extra-cellular exchange, and imparting high levels of mental and physical vitality to your whole being.
Fresh organic vegetables are the best source of natural fiber, vitamins and minerals for high-level wellness. I suggest that at least 50% of what you eat each day be made up of raw vegetables with some of the best low-glycemic fruits, such as the berries. Go raw. You won’t regret it.
Apart from all those wonderful green, organic vegetables you can sprout in your kitchen or grow in your garden, the products that I like best providing wonderful sources of fiber are these:
BEST ORGANIC PSYLLIUM
USDA Organic Non-Irradiated
Certified Organic by QAI
Plantago Ovata ForssK.
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HEATHER’S ORGANIC ACACIA FIBER
A medical food for the dietary management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Acacia Senegal is a soluble fiber with a clinically proven prebiotic effect. Studies have shown that soluble fiber, as part of the diet, regulates bowel motility (alleviating both diarrhea and constipation), and relieves abdominal pain from IBS. Acacia Senegal's prebiotic effect stimulates the growth of healthy gut flora, which in turn reduces bloating, gas, and bowel irregularities from the digestive dysfunction of IBS. Heather's Tummy Fiber is unique, because it has a good gastrointestinal tolerance and a proven significantly bifidogenic effect. Heather's Tummy Fiber is formulated specifically for the dietary management of IBS. It is 100% Acacia Senegal, and contains no low grade Acacia seyal. It also has no IBS triggers.
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This is not your average chia seed - it's the Albert Einstein and Hercules of chia. University studies find Salba Chia seeds do heavy-lifting nutritionally, providing a daily Omega-3 (ALA) and fiber boost, and they earn extra credit for minerals. High in Omega-3 (ALA,) High in Fiber, Good Source of Calcium & Minerals, USDA Organic, Non GMO Project Verified, Dietary Supplement, Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, Certified Organic by: International Certification Services
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